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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

UK identified as fourth most important country for business growth

The UK is considered the fourth most important country in the world for business growth, behind only the US, China and Germany, according to a survey of global CEOs by PwC.

CEOs see UK as importance for growth ©iStock
CEOs see UK as important for growth ©iStock

Unveiled today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the findings also show that 87% of CEOs are optimistic about their organisation’s growth prospects for this year.

This rises to 88% among UK business leaders, despite the country’s decision to leave the EU, although geopolitical uncertainty is ranked as the top threat to growth in 2018, followed by over-regulation. 

“Robust confidence levels among UK CEOs points to resilience in uncertain times, but this is tempered by a big dose of realism about the challenges ahead,” PwC senior partner, Kevin Ellis, said.

“Brexit uncertainty, regulation, availability of skills and cyber are key concerns but business leaders remain confident they can navigate through them.”

The annual survey involved 1,293 interviews with CEOs across 85 countries, including 193 in the UK.

It was found that 36% of British business leaders think global economic growth will improve in 2018, compared to the 17% who said the same in 2016, with optimism for the world economy the highest recorded in three years.

This was reflected in the International Monetary Fund raising its global GDP forecasts to 3.9% for this year and the next, with US president Donald Trump’s tax cuts expected to help lift short-term growth even further.

However, the PwC survey findings show that 69% of UK CEOs agree that emerging technology and automation will disrupt their business over the next five years.

As a result, 77% said they are taking action to attract or develop staff with digital skills, with 58% recognising their responsibility to retrain employees whose tasks and jobs may be impacted by automation.

“Disruption from emerging technology is now a fact of life and business leaders are considering how the fourth industrial revolution will impact their operations and employees,” Ellis continued.

“The more that UK CEOs take the lead and innovate, the greater the likelihood that the UK will maintain its competitive position on the international stage.”

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